On the hottest prairie days, sometimes
I can nearly feel a fine light spray
teasing my parched lips and tongue
whipped up from the windy water
of a lake that is no longer there
and that hasn't been for perhaps
eight thousand or so years.
From places close by, I nearly feel, too
the cool breathing and deep muttering grind
of glaciers the size of continents
abrading an adolescent land down to its bones
and melting rivers into water vast enough
to meddle with whole prehistoric climates
somewhere across a different-shaped Atlantic.
If you ask me where they come from,
these teasing postcards of memories I can't have,
I cannot tell you, yet I am preternaturally aware
that among wheatfields I walk the dry bed of a lake
great enough to swallow all of the great lakes
now belted across the wide belly of this country
drowning them deep, denying them daylight.
And when bright noon sun is highest and driest
I can close my ancestral eyes and remember
sitting serenely on a worn canvas deck chair
beneath a gaudy coloured beach umbrella with
a tall iced tea, sunglasses and a bamboo pole
fishing for extinct Pleistocene creatures
from the rocky shoreline of a young Lake Agassiz.